By: Gail Armatys, HeartSong Life Coach
One day we are sitting around the table stuffing ourselves with incredibly good food and giving thanks, and with a blink of an eye and a nod of a chin (with apologies to Santa), suddenly ‘tis the season to be jolly.
How does that happen? Truth be told, the Christmas season for retailers and those anxious for the season to begin skip right past Thanksgiving by decorating and offering Christmas sales and merchandise long before the turkey comes out of the oven.
Not only does the season begin earlier than many prefer, it is full of things to do, places to be, gifts to buy, parties to attend, cookies to bake, expectation after expectation after expectation to be fulfilled. In our mind, it all sounds like great fun but then…
Our calendars become full and the competition has begun. More, bigger, better…and when it comes to shopping now ‘days – faster and stronger. All of which can lead to the very scary Obsessive Christmas Disorder.
I give you Exhibit A. The Crazy Target Lady.
For some, probably not those reading this blog, and certainly not for me – ahem, but for some, Christmas can become chaotic. A time so filled with busyness that by the end of our evenings we might be overheard uttering… as we drag ourselves to bed…
So…busy…pant, pant, so tired…pant, pant…must find…pant, pant…time for a…pant, pant…silent…pant…night.
Too many malls, too much hustle and bustle, too many dollars spent to try to keep up with Christmas as usual, too much noise, just all too much! Then it happens. We realize we’ve fallen victim to Obsessive Christmas Disorder!
If you, like me, would like to keep Obsessive Christmas Disorder at bay this year, here are 4 practical purpose steps to help you exchange Christmas of the world for a much needed silent night.
(1) Begin Your Day With Thanks. When you wake up each morning between now and Christmas, rather than running through your to-do list in your mind and getting out of bed with a helpless sigh, take a deep breath… or two… and thank God for baby Jesus and the good gifts (take time to name some of them) he provides. Dwell there for a while.
(2) Implement A New Rule: No Grumbling. 1 Cor. 10:10 says, ‘And do not grumble…’ Yes, grumbling is the same as complaining. Things such as, “The line is too long. They are out of the gift I was going to buy. I hate wrapping presents. Traffic is horrible. I should have bought the cookies instead of burn…I mean, baking them.” All grumbling.
One way to avoid this?
(3) Be Intentional. Choose to be purposeful – intentional – about what you allow on your calendar, what you will say ‘yes’ to, and the amount of time and money you will contribute. This isn’t restrictive advice. Instead, it allows you to give fully and appropriately to your priorities.
It is the season to give. Yes, absolutely! (Well, not just this season but all seasons, actually.) So, be intentional about listening to and obeying the leading of the Holy Spirit. There are many good things to attend and contribute to. Be discerning. Pour yourself into something God has called you to rather than spreading yourself thinner than ice on a pond in August! ‘Cuz when you get to that point you aren’t skating anymore, you’re drowning!
(4) Create A Silent Night. When you schedule your day (See ‘Be Intentional’ above), create a little silent night of your own. Go for a walk in the evening and look at the Christmas lights. Read a good book about the Christmas Story. (The Bible, Luke, chapters 1 & 2 come highly recommended. The Women of Christmas by Higgs is also a good one.)
Take a bubble bath. Listen to Christmas music (a little Michael Bublé Christmas, anyone?). Relax in front of the fire or on the back porch and enjoy the stars God placed in the sky. You get the idea. Take time, several times during the week to appreciate the season and draw closer to those you love and the One who loves you most…the reason for the season.
Now, take a deep breath and release. Ahhh.
No more Obsessive Christmas Disorder for you!
Thank you, Lord, for Jesus. For this gift of your grace that came to save the world – save me. Help me to be purposeful in my activities this month. To plan my days with an eye toward your will and an ear toward the silence of the night that the hustle and bustle of the season might not overwhelm me, but that my heart be turned toward your gift offered in the form of a babe. In Jesus’ name I pray. Amen.
Implement the 4 practical purpose steps listed above as you plan for the next 3 weeks. Be intentional about what you do and respond with thanks and joy as you move through your days.
As you do these things, journal about the difference you see in your temperament and attitude as Christmas draws near.
Listen to Your HeartSong Here!
I Need A Silent Night/Amy Grant
Live the song written on your heart